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Strategies for Smoking Competitions

Many tobacco pipe clubs hold tobacco pipe smoking competitions. There are several competitions out there, but the biggest one is the slow smoke competition by United Pipe Clubs of America. There are several things you need to do to practice and prepare for the slow smoke competition.

There are four key areas for prepping the pipe and tobacco for these competitions. First you need to check the pipe, next is prepare the tamper, third is prepare the tobacco and the last is loading the pipe.


Step 1 - Checking the Pipe

First, purchase pipes that are all the same. If your club is on a budget, you may want to stick with corncob pipes. Also, purchase some wax paper and cut into 11 inch pieces. 

Next, using a pipe cleaner, check to make sure the draft hole is completely open. The pipe cleaner should fit so that you can see it in the pipe bowl. Make sure the position of the draft hole is correct. 

Step 2 - Preparing the Tamper

Give each person two matches, a soft tamper and tobacco. Make sure the tobacco is from the same container and is the same weight for everyone. Push the tamper hard into the bowl while turning it. This will cause the tamper to shape to the contour of the tobacco pipe bowl. Flip the tamper over and repeat the steps.

Get a pencil and draw a line around the tamper while it is fully inserted into the bowl. Flip the tamper and draw a line on the other end too. These marks will help you gage how much tobacco is left in your pipe.

Step 3 - Preparing the Tobacco

Users get five minutes to prepare the tobacco for their tobacco pipe. Get the piece of wax paper and fold it in half. Pour the tobacco onto the wax paper. Using your fingers and hands, roll, rub, grind and crush all the tobacco. You want the tobacco to be as small grain as possible. Make sure all the tobacco stays on the paper, losing any could cost you the contest.

Step 4 - Loading the Pipe

Start picking up the tobacco and putting it into your pipe. While loading, use the tamper to pack the bowl. Make sure the pack is not too loose or too tight. Once you get towards the end of your tobacco, you will need to pick up the wax paper and use the fold to pour the rest of the tobacco into your pipe. With your final pack, pay attention to how full the bowl is.


This is the signal for the competition to start. Remember smoke slow but don't let it burn out! Good Luck!